Friday, February 13, 2015

"Mastering" Training for a Mountain Hundred Miler

Just when you think you have the training dialed in and the plan is in place for the next 5 months, along comes a couple of coaches who say that master athletes (age 40 and over, some say age 50 and over), need to approach things a bit differently – more recovery.

Music to my ears.

Most coaches follow a periodization training concept -- you do base miles for a period of weeks/months (usually over winter), build for a couple blocks of several more weeks, then get ready to race with race prep and tapering.   All of these "blocks" are typically three weeks of training at a certain intensity or specificity, then a week of rest including easy, active recovery and reduced training hours.   Lynda Wallenfals of LW Coaching, throws a twist into those blocks for Masters athletes.  Her philosophy is that aging athletes need more recovery time.  So she uses a three week training block: two weeks of training followed by a week of recovery.   Lynda also emphasizes the need for strength training, technical ride skills and high intensity workouts.   From the LW Coaching website:  Aging is linked with loss of bone and muscle mass in sedentary adults over the age of 35 years but not in active athletes. Use it or lose it. Increasing muscular strength increases resilience to injury, contributes to consistency and keeps you in the game as you age. 
Joel Friel - a well-known coach from way back when - just published a book Fast After 50 that gets into the nitty-gritty of approaching training to ward off the effects of age.  He writes a nice description of the book in his blog here.  He too talks about strength training and more recovery along with higher intensity workouts.   But we can't forget the every body is different rule.  What works for one may not work for another.  Nutrition plays a big role in recovery also.  Do you do a recovery drink after a workout?  Are you eating lots of fruits, vegetables, lean protein?  Are you getting enough protein.  It's such a science to dial in the proper nutrition.  So we need to try what might be best for our body.
Needless to say, my training plan got an overhaul.   I won't shy away from one week less of training.  Two weeks on with a week off will work out just fine.  This aging thing isn't so bad after all. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Amish Side of Mountain Biking

Use it Up
Wear it Out
Make Do,
Or Do Without

Words to live by when you retire prior to retirement age.  I caught myself dipping a bike tube into a sink of water looking for the leak with full intentions of actually patching the hole.  When I couldn’t figure out how to use the patch kit I found in the drawer (no instructions… imagine that!) and hubby was more interested in baking a loaf of bread, I ended up ditching the tube like the majority of folks.  Then I realized, most folks don’t even use tubes these days.  Along with the 29er movement in the mountain bike world came tubeless tires.  Most bikes on the trails are the latest and greatest size with Stans No Tubes sloshing in the tires.  So where do all the 26 inch bikes and tubes go?  To folks that swear by using it up, wearing it out, making it do, or doing without.   My little bike will have to do for now and I was grateful my friends threw their 26 inch bike trash my way when they were cleaning out.  My 9 year old Specialized Epic came with tubeless rims and tires.  It was the latest and greatest on the scene at that time and they served me well.  The tires on the bike now are going bald.  I have Stans No Tubes for in the tires and I have valve stems, but no tires.  A new set of tubeless 26 inch mountain bike tires will cost me about $100 (my preference is Continental Mountain Kings).  Enter my friends trash – a set of brand new 26 inch tires – but not tubeless.  The brand doesn't seem to matter much when you aren't paying for them.  Hmm, I have free 26 inch tires and a stash of 26 inch tubes.  So I could set my bike up in new tires for nothing.  Yes, I’m going to make do with what I have and put tubes on tubeless rims on a 26 inch bike and race with the big guys.   Maybe I should break out the straw hat and suspenders for the ride too.   Or better yet, hook my bike up to the team and let them pull me over the trails.